How (and Why) Your Website Should Combine SEO and User Experience
Heading into a new year can be a chance for small businesses, individuals, and organizations to start fresh. This year, we’re looking at consumer-facing strategies, particularly how SEO and customer experience align. While they might seem like different strategies, there’s actually quite a bit of crossover.
SEO (search engine optimization) is a moving target that can result in some pretty awful web copy. Every site is vying to be within the first few results of keyword searches, which means the content can get scrambled and end up being useless thanks to keyword cramming and clunky sentence structure. The best strategy means a combination of creating easy-to-read, useful content while still hitting those search terms. A major factor in SEO ranking is how long consumers stay on your site, which means design and ease of navigation isn’t just important for consumers, but for SEO also. Additionally, algorithms are getting smarter, and if you’re posting irrelevant copy based solely on keywords, the search engines won’t be crawling your site or visiting it for higher ranking.
Here are our best tips for combining SEO strategies with an informative, user-friendly site to get the best of both worlds.
Use keywords, but not obnoxiously
This is where it’s important to strike a balance, both for SEO purposes and for your own readers. Keywords are a big part of how you’ll rank in people’s internet searches, but by making your content so stuffed with keywords as to be unintelligible, you’ll alienate potential customers and actually end up ranking lower down in the search results if people don’t stay on your site. We’ll go more into keyword strategies in a future post, but for now, sprinkling them into your copy and headers in a natural way is your best bet.
Write relevant content, not clunky keyword copy
Avoid the reverse-engineering we’re seeing online these days! It seems like more brands are creating copy around keywords as opposed to writing clean, relevant paragraphs, and it’s making searches harder than ever. Writing concise, articulate copy instead of generating material around keywords means more relevant content, which will keep people on your pages for longer and result in better ranking and customer trust. In turn, this means better conversion rates.
Focus on user experience and intuitive navigation
If you’re looking to update your website this year, one of your top priorities should be front-end user experience, or UX. Think of this like a simplified road map for finding information. The main menu or navigation bar should be easy to find and intuitive to follow, and website visitors should be able to navigate easily through your information and product or service offerings. Having a clean, simple website is a good way to build consumer appeal and keep people on your page longer, which helps you rank higher in searches.
The easier it is for people to find well-written information, the more likely they are to stick around and give you their business. Conversely, if a potential customer is frustrated by quirky navigation or counterintuitive menu options, they’ll get frustrated and leave. We suggest a few simple drop-down options that lead to easy-to-understand categories, and follow a natural flow.
Make your content easy to read and concise
Like the navigation and intuitive website flow, good copy is the best way to keep someone on your site. Readers have a lot of options these days, and clunky, hard-to-read copy probably isn’t worth their time. Your web copy should be concise, to-the-point, and answer the most common questions while dispensing critical information the person arrived there for. This might include “what do you offer,” “how much do services cost,” or “information about this company.” Think about the most important information you want your customers to see, and then work to write the simplest, most professional and easy-to-digest information to get them those answers.
The way your copy is arranged on the page also matters. This includes headers, bullets, and at-a-glance information. Avoid cramming huge blocks of text onto the page, and separate information into categories so readers know with a quick glance what to expect from the different sections, and what might be the most relevant. Breaking it up with videos and photos also helps readers stay fresh while allowing you to add keywords to image descriptions.
Update your content!
Posting and updating at least once a month with fresh, quality writing and content will help readers and consumers stay engaged while reminding the search engines that you exist. Updating posts and existing copy will result in increased indexing, which means the major search engines will visit your site more often and you’ll end up climbing higher in the search results.